Shawn Mitiska exclusive Interview on Mixing.DJ
Hey Shawn – such an honor to have a chance to interview you. We’ve followed your career for at least five years now and still fondly remember some of your earliest gems like “After-Hours Ensemble” and “Delorean” (under the Flux Capacitor alias).
1) First of all, a congratulations are in order for your amazing new Cerf, Mitiska, & Jaren album “Give Me A Sound,” which is out now on all digital download stores and being supported by the likes of Armin, Myon & Shane54, and Gareth Emery. Tell us briefly about the process of creating this album, as well as the history of your collaboration with Matt Cerf and Jaren.
Well, this album took quite a while to finish…5 years in-fact!!! Matt and I had always been working on projects together and once we met Jaren the team kind of organically fell into place. After that we naturally started working on singles, those including ‘Light The Skies’, ‘Saved Again’, ‘Me & You’, ‘You Never Said’, ‘Man On The Run’ and ‘Beggin You’. After the success we had with our singles we felt like it’d be really cool to dive into an artist album. I think this really gave us the flexibility to showcase not only dance floor bombs but music more near and dear to us personally such as Breaks (Give Me A Sound) Down-Tempo (Our Little Secret) and even Rock (Our Neighborhood).
2) Imagine you are doing a review of your own album. How would you describe the style/sound of CMJ and the album in general? Was there a specific unifying concept/theme for this record in particular?
It’s pretty hard to describe our sound honestly, I feel like we really tried to get the most out of each track that we could. Now a-days most EDM artists who come out with an album make all 13-17 tracks sound exactly the same. I was trying to steer clear from this and truly showcase my production skill…I think creativity and patience will always win over the generic “give me it now”, route and sound.
3) Which tracks on the album are you most proud of and why?
‘Play Our Lives’ with Audien because it’s most definitely one of the catchiest tracks for me on the album, plus I think the production far surpasses a lot of the stuff I hear out there.
‘Ready For Go’ with Fine Taste because it’s always been a huge goal of mine to work with Johan Vermeulen and Freek Geuze. These guys definitely shaped my early career and it was a huge honor working with them!!!
‘Part Of Me’, because it took the longest of any track on the album besides the title track ‘Give Me A Sound’. ‘Part Of Me’, was actually derived from an earlier track of ours ‘Down To You’, which never got released (until recently). We truly reworked this one a ton and in the end I gave it the final push to completion…it felt great finding a direction and sound that was current and club heavy!!!
4) If you could personally pick any artist(s) to remix one or your tracks and/or collaborate with at the moment, who would it be?
Eric Prydz or David West…I have the utmost respect for these guys true musical talent and ear, they’re both unreal.
5) What is the next step in your career? Will you be doing more CMJ projects, or focusing on solo work?
My main focus now is definitely pushing my solo career, i’ll be not only putting out solo singles and remixes but also collabs with some upcoming friends you may have heard of
6) For audiences who have never seen you spin live, tell us a bit about your DJ style. Also, what recent tracks have been amongst your top “weapons” in your DJ sets?
Well, i’ve been DJing now since I was 13 and I feel like my style has truly changed over the years. Right now i’ll play anything from pumpin’ tech-house to funky Nu-Disco, to Progressive house and even some Trance for good measure. I like to play to the crowd in front of me so it always kind of changes!!! Some of my biggest tracks right now include:
Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren and Chris Jones – Starting Right Now (Ost & Meyer Remix) [S107 Records]
Prok & Fitch vs. Marco Lys – You Need Some [Great Stuff]
Nitrous Oxide – Tiburon [Anjunabeats]
Audien feat. Ruby Prophet – These Are The Days [Zouk Recordings]
7) If you could, please share one of your most memorable DJ experiences to date. On a related note, what would be your “dream” city/venue to play in the future?
I think my most memorable DJ experience was playing alongside DJ Tiesto for 8,000 people at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, AB. Honestly i’m happy playing anywhere as long as the vibe is great. I could be in front of 200 people or 200,000 people as long as everyones having fun and enjoying the music.
8) We’ve been asking a lot of progressive artists this question recently, and would love to hear your insights: what is the future of progressive? Can it survive in its own right, in spite of the rapid ascent of dubstep, electro, club house and other EDM sub-genres in recent years?
I sure hope so…in a scene where a lot of the top music has no soul or depth I feel like we need that. It’s hard for me to connect with a track that has no melody line and 20 – 1 shot’s thrown together, there really needs to be a standard. I think it’s truly on the listener to be a little more knowledgable about what’s out there and not be confined to only what’s promoted…open your ears and get interested because there’s a lot of great artists out there overlooked!
- Jacob Henry